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Conley, Ohio State thump Northwestern

Jan 18, 2007 - 6:48 AM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Northwestern picked the wrong spot to try and win its first league game.

Freshman Mike Conley Jr. had a rare double-double with 17 points and 10 assists to lead No. 7 Ohio State to a 73-41 Big Ten Conference drubbing of the Wildcats.

Conley is the first player from Ohio State (15-3, 3-1 Big Ten) to register a double-double in points and assists since Michael Redd - now with the Milwaukee Bucks - accomplished the feat against Toledo in 1997.

"Mike played a very good game," Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. "He is one of the best players I've seen in analyzing and saying, 'This needs to be done.' He tuned into the kind of defense they were playing. He did a great job of moving the ball around."

Jamar Butler, freshman Daequan Cook and Conley nailed 3-pointers as the Buckeyes bolted to a 13-4 lead and built it to 30-11 en route to a 34-15 halftime advantage in defeating Northwestern for the 14th consecutive time.

"We knew they were going to come out with that 1-3-1 zone," Butler said. "Both Mike (Conley) and I broke down their defense and found each other for open shots on the perimeter."

The Buckeyes scored 13 of the first 16 points in the second half, moving ahead, 47-18, on Conley's dunk with 14:53 to go.

"It's not like they have one guy who can shoot," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. "They have three starters who can shoot, then they have Cook who comes off the bench and can shoot it pretty well, too. They are really tough to guard."

Butler had 16 points, including four 3-pointers, and Othello Hunter added 10 for Ohio State, which only received five points from freshman phenom Greg Oden.

"We knew coming in that the way they play he might not get many shots but it doesn't bother him at all," Matta said of Oden. "That's why he is the great player that he is."

The 7-foot Oden did have five blocks and six rebounds.

"He has a dominating presence on defense," Carmody said. "He affects the game in many ways even when he's not scoring. When we would get into the lane he would affect our guys' shots even if he didn't block them."

Craig Moore scored 11 points to lead Northwestern (10-8, 0-5), which lost its fifth straight game and has not beaten Ohio State since 1998.

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    NORTHWESTERN 15 26 41
    OHIO ST (7) 34 39 73 FINAL

    Jan 17 9:45 PM


    Jan 17 8:47 PM